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which ztr to choose

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by rickyd, Jun 22, 2001.

  1. rickyd

    rickyd LawnSite Member
    from tn
    Posts: 5

    need help choosing best ztr. have 6 acres to mow. i have looked at gravely, grasshopper and scag ,all are close in price ,but i have no experience with any of the engine options ie-diesel vs gas (air or liquid cooled),kohler,kawasaki,kubota, etc. also not sure which are best in terms of ease to service and maintenance. also is there any difference in longevity between mid mount and out front mowers. thank-you for any advice.
  2. Landry

    Landry LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    I recently purchased a Scag Turf Tiger after looking and trying all brands/dealers in my area. It comes down to what qualities are important to you. For me, a machine that is easy to work on was tie breaker in a ZTR since all of the professional machines are very close in performace. The Scag uses a horzontal engine shaft and by design the belts are easy to get to by dropping a panel on the back of the machine. To me this is the way I would have designed it, no crawling under the machine to change the belts. Scag uses a shaft to get power to the deck, it still has the same number of belts as the other machines but they are short and easy to get to. If you look at all of them, (John Deere, Dixie chopper, Exmark etc) one will have a "hook" that you cannot live without. All the other options are simple, get the biggest deck you can fit between your trees/bushes (52 inch in my case) and the most motor your wallet will allow. In this class of machine it will be hard to make a bad choice. Good luck hunting!
  3. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    I run 2 Dixie Choppers, both 60". One is gas and one is diesel. The diesel uses 3 quarts of fuel an hour and the 22 HP Kohler uses about 1.25 gallons an hour. The diesel is expected to last 12,000 hours and a Kohler on a Chopper will last over 3,000 hours. I have a 22 HP Kohler on one Chopper with 3,465 hours on it, Bill (FineLinesLawn) has one with 3,500 hours on it, so it's common for this to happen.

    A Dixie Chopper with a 60" deck and fairly smooth turf, you should mow your six acres in a hour and a half. Several homeowners lately have bought the 72" Dixie Chopper with the 25 HP Kohler on it and they can't believe how fast they can cut 6 or 7 acres. One guy wrote me saying him and his wife almost fight over who gets to mow the lawn now. :)

    If you want to see the cut quality of a Chopper, visit my website by clicking the blinking gif below.

    Demo them all and see which one is best for you and let us know what you get. :)
  4. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Posts: 166

    On the question pertaining to maintenance, I'd agree with Landry that it is better to have a well designed unit that is easy to work on. You don't want to have to dismantle the whole motor to change one belt or have the fluid filters mounted in a way where there is no clearance or your oil will run everywhere but the drainpan. On the same note though, you'll most likely end up spending most of your maintenance time under the mowing deck - keeping it clean, lubed and sharp. That's where the out front deck is better; it also reaches under fence-rows, bushes and swing-sets with ease. I just bought a Grasshopper and like the way it functions, the only thing I'd change is the ground-speed. It's rated at 7mph and I think a machine that moves at 10mph will still cut fine and save a bunch more time. I guess the Dixies have a real advantage there.
    Like Eric said, the Diesels will use less fuel and have a longer life-expectancy, so do the liquid cooled gasoline motors. The drawback being a higher up-front cost and if something goes wrong you'll pay more for repairs too.
    Make sure your deck will fit between your obstacles, doesn't do you much good to opt for a 72" deck and spend an hour trimming all the spots you couldn't get to.
    Personally, I'd go with a front mounted deck again.
    Good luck.
  5. rickyd

    rickyd LawnSite Member
    from tn
    Posts: 5

    landry, eric and catcher,
    thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I don't have a dixie chopper dealer in my area. I liked the grasshopper but price wise I can get a much better deal on a gravely but i have two concerns. the deck has sealed spindles (don't have to service them but will they last? ) It also has a kohler 25hp ohv engine I have read some negative comment about these engines. anyone have any advice on this? for a little more i can get robin engine anyone have expirience with these? thanks again for the help!:)
  6. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Posts: 166

    Well Ricky,
    you get what you pay for. I don't know how much they're saving by omitting grease-zerks but I'd feel more comfortable being able to grease the spindles occasionaly.
  7. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,555

    I have advise on the 25Hp kohler,dont buy it.If you do,dont say you werent warned.I dont like the idea of non greasable spindles,either.Ive noticed a lot of dealers have left overs on special,still from last year.They all have the 25Kohler on them,seems to be the only engines they can keep in stock.There should be disclaimer with them stating the engines quirks,and "normal traits" that on any other engine are signs of engine failure,but on the kohler,they are normal.This way anyone who buys one knows what they are getting,and can make a desicison based on that.

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